Cultures, Featured, Music History »

The Musical Culture of Cape Verde

Posted April 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments

I have never seen so much music come from so small a country. There are only eight small islands in this West African archipelago, but there is an enormous amount of music that comes from them. I am in Praia, capital city of Santiago, the biggest commercial capital of the islands. The other islands are Brava, Santa Luzia, Sal, Boa Vista, Maio, Fogo, Sao Nicolau, …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Recollections »

Cape Verde’s Cesaria Evora

Posted April 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments

I have spent the last week in Cape Verde, 300 miles southwest of Dakar, Senegal. The islands were discovered in 1460 by a Portuguese explorer named Diego Gomes, who was en route to Goa, India. All he found were volcanic islands uninhabited except for a few goats wandering around.
I have come to this country for the music. I featured Cape Verdean music by the …

Featured, Music Evolution, Music History, RIP »

RIP: Frankie Knuckles, Godfather of House Music

Posted April 2, 2014 by | 2 Comments

The world of EDM (Electronic Dance Music) was shocked to learn today of Frankie Knuckles‘ death at just 59 years of age of complications from diabetes.
Knuckles moved from New York and started deejaying in the late 1970s in Chicago. His influence has been enormous and spread worldwide. Electronic Dance Music superstars like Daft Punk, Paul Oakenfold, the Dutch duo Kraak and Smaak, DJ Cam, …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Music History, Music Phenomena, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #45: The Kora, Africa’s Beautiful Harp Lute

Posted March 28, 2014 by | 0 Comments

The 21-string kora is West Africa’s traditional harp lute. It is part of West African musical history in Senegal, Guinea, Mali, and other countries.  It is a beautiful hand-crafted instrument: a large gourd is fashioned, a round neck is added, and the gourd part is covered in goatskin and ornamented with patterned beadwork. Kora players typically wear the flowing robes that make up traditional …

Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena »

World Music Teaches You Everything

Posted March 26, 2014 by | 2 Comments
world music 5

I majored in Humanities as an undergraduate because it was broad-based and I could take many courses, from California Geography to Entomology to history, philosophy,  languages and literature. Later, I took an MA in Comparative Literature for similar reasons: I could read the great writers from around the world, learning from epistolary novels (novels of letters e.g. Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Goethe’s Sorrows of Young …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #44: John Coltrane’s Timeless Ballad

Posted March 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments

John Coltrane recorded his classic ballad “Naima” on his 1959 album Giant Steps. He named the song after his first wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs (quite a combo of names). The song has been covered countless times; my recorded show features eight different versions.
It uses a variety of chords over a bass note, as well as a number of modes: dorian, mixolydian, phrygian, lydian, and …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena »

Hampton Hawes: Jazz Great Pardoned by JFK

Posted March 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments
everybody likes hampton hawes

 A few months ago, I read with interest a New York Times article a story about how a jazz pianist and a great American president’s lives coincided in a small bit of history. The article was called, The President of the Cool.
Hampton Hawes (1928-1977) was one of the great jazz pianists; fiercely independent, he learned everything, improvisation, technique, harmony, theory, music history, on his …

Featured, Headline, Music History, Music Phenomena, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #41: Carnival Celebrations

Posted February 28, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Carnival is here again beginning this weekend and continuing until next Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Although Carnival (Brazil spells it Carnaval) may seem like one big Bacchanalian orgy,  it has a religious origin: the Catholic church allowed this once-pagan ritual to precede Lent (the 40 days of abstinence, fasting, etc., that mirrored the 40 days Christ spent in the …

Featured, Music History, Recollections »

100 Years Of Bollywood

Posted February 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Last year, Bollywood, as the Indian film industry is known, turned 100. Its first film, Raja Harishchandra, was a silent film released in 1913. This was seventeen years after the very first films arrived in India from England, using technology derived from the French Lumiere Brothers, who created the first moving pictures in 1895.
For decades the Bombay film industry has produced 10 times as …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena »

How Baden Powell Got His Name

Posted February 17, 2014 by | 1 Comment

Baden Powell (1937-2000) was an amazing and very influential guitar player from Brazil. I have featured his music on my shows for many years, and enjoyed it long before that, beginning with an MPS LP Apaixonado from Germany in the 1960s. I even have a picture of him on my wall, a more formal portrait where his hands and fingers look like something out of …

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